President Mohammad Ayub khan visited the United States in 1961 where he was warmly received by the then POTUS John F. Kennedy and the first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. He addressed the US Congress and was served a state dinner at Mount Vernon in a courteous manner. The US Information Service made a film of his presidential visit which is still watched by many Pakistanis on social media to salvage some pride.

Some may give a reason that in the 1960s the US critically needed Pakistan’s support in its cold war against the then USSR that is why he was accorded respect on such a high level. But, certainly, the US needed our assistance and favours more severely in the 1980s when the Soviet’s Red Army had invaded Afghanistan. Yet, we don’t see Washington’s admiration for Islamabad on that scale in General Zia’s era though he also paid a State Visit to America. His rise to power may be illegitimate and many of his policies may be condemned, but the fact is nobody could win such great honour in the last six decades as Ayub Khan did on an international level. Actually, since then, many Prime Ministers and Presidents have been frisked at the US airports and made to pass through security checks in an offensive way.

Now it’s the turn of Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit the most powerful country in the world. He is known for his eminence as a leader, and his recent visits to China and some Gulf countries indicated that he enjoyed enormous prestige while being there. Apart from that, normally state leaders make symbolic trips to foreign countries for the purpose of formally signing the pre-negotiated deals but that was not the case with Imran Khan. All the three countries, China, Saudi Arabia, and UAE announced rescue packages for Pakistan days after our PM met their leaderships while the statement by Qatar regarding $3 billion investment and support package was issued after the ending of their Emir’s visit to Pakistan.

Now that it’s beyond doubt that Imran Khan has mastery over communication and convincing skills, he must efficiently take up the case of Pakistan’s interests in a meeting on 22nd July with the US President. In a tweet encounter last year, he responded to Trump effectively by emphasizing facts and figures, telling him about the huge cost Pakistan had paid in the US war on terror in return of which the compensation granted can only be termed minuscule. Now he needs to raise the regional issues in a face to face meeting in the best possible way as the current American leadership is often willing to bring about a policy shift when convinced.

Invasion of Iran means the creation of instability in Pakistan and the region. We don’t afford another US war at our doorsteps. The Trump administration must be persuaded to avoid this war as it will produce sanctuaries for terrorists and saboteurs and deepen the already intense and well-grounded hatred among regional people for America and Israel. Regarding the Afghan peace process, it should be ensured that safe havens offered to anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan are annihilated. No one should be allowed to use their soil against any foreign country, be it the United States, Pakistan, China, Russia, or anyone else. At the end of the negotiations, a “national government” should be installed which is strong, stable, and owned by the Afghan people.

It should also be elucidated that Kashmir is the basic and most difficult issue of the world which involves two neighbouring nuclear powers. The Indian refusal to come to the negotiating table is the main hindrance in its resolution. They wouldn’t budge without a fresh and reasonable demand from the International Community. Making of such a demand should be started by the White House for the sake of Kashmiri people whose basic rights are being violated, human dignity destroyed, and whose youth are used as human shields, woman raped and molested, children made blind, and people disappeared and tortured.

Moreover, Imran Khan must also take notice of Pakistan’s moribund lobby in Washington D.C. Pakistan’s influence on the people of America and its legislature is on the decline in stark contrast to that of India. We need to organise and strengthen our lobbying on Capitol Hill.

There are reasonable prospects that this visit will bear fruits. Prior to Khan’s visit, the US designated Baluchistan Liberation Army as a global terrorist organization making it illegal for anyone to transact business with them in the United States. It was a dramatic good-will gesture which was made at the right time. Meanwhile, PM Khan might visit Russia in the coming September to participate in the Eastern Economic Forum on the invitation of President Putin to make it abundantly clear that he doesn’t have inclinations towards one side. After all, they hit it off at the SCO summit a month ago.

People of Pakistan expect a different visit of their leader to the White House this time with surprising results. Their hopes need to be entertained Mr PM.